Protecting Cultural Heritage
Learning Resilience from the Past
Within the context of climate change, sea level rise and extreme weather events threaten not only coastal communities globally, but also the archaeological record of their history, knowledge, and culture. Dunes and coastal areas often protect the artifacts and stories of the Puerto Rican people. Unfortunately, the speed at which changes and impacts to these areas are happening has made archaeologists painfully aware of how vulnerable these libraries of cultural heritage are and how fast they are disappearing.
Destruction of archaeological sites and tangible cultural heritage is not a problem solely relevant to archaeologists or heritage professionals. Cultural heritage and local knowledge are integral to reducing social vulnerabilities and increasing community resilience to climate change. In the context of disasters, documenting and engaging with cultural heritage, in collaboration with communities, is a path towards supporting local community resilience because it helps affected groups to re-ground with their past and local histories.
The DUNAS project is an interdisciplinary approach to respond to this palpable threat. By working with ecologists and climate experts to mitigate coastal dune erosion, we buy time to document and learn from the communities of the past to inform our resilient future.